By Aisling Finn on Monday 22 June 2020
Georgadze on the impact of coronavirus, US expansion and what the future might hold for fintech.
Since its launch in 2013, Raisin has quickly become one of Europe’s largest fintechs.
To date, Raisin has placed €23.5bn in deposits from more than 265,000 customers across 28 European countries and 94 partner banks.
At the helm of the Berlin-based digital wealth management platform is CEO and co-founder Dr. Tamaz Georgadze.
Georgadze is a veteran of the finance industry having spent nearly a decade at McKinsey & Co., following the completion of his PhD in agricultural economics and honours law degree from the University of Giessen.
AltFi caught up with Georgadze (over video call) last week to see how his fintech powerhouse is coping amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Calling from his office in Berlin, Georgadze is keen to point out that Raisin has “not been particularly hit by the pandemic.”
“I think people started to put more money aside, instead of less, because they are consuming less,” Georgadze told AltFi.
Despite Raisin’s steadiness now, it did face a few weeks of uncertainty when the crisis first began, admitting that “March was a bit challenging”.
“When the world feels like it’s falling apart, you need to take care of physical safety and buying groceries and so on—all the primary needs emerge. Psychologically people have a lot of other things to do than starting to sort out their savings,” he told AltFi.
Following the initial blip, Raisin is back just as strong as it was before the crisis hit because “people started to put more money aside because they’re consuming less.”
Georgadze also thinks that this could be down to Raisin becoming a more attractive avenue for customers following the slashing of traditional bank rates, meaning consumers want to shop around more before they commit to putting their savings all in one place.
As well as strong consumer activity, Raisin has recently launched several new partnerships as it continues to dominate the fintech savings space.
Most recently, Raisin collaborated with buy-now-pay-later fintech Klarna to help it facilitate new savings products for its German customers.
Although, Georgadze told AltFi that Raisin’s US operations had faced a bump in the road as a result of the ongoing pandemic.
“New York was the forefront of the crisis and our team sits in New York, so it's been a challenging couple of months for them.”
“In Europe, we have several hundred people who are very used to working with each other, but in the US it’s a very new team, so adjusting was difficult, particularly with their everyday situation getting disrupted,” he told AltFi.
“The first step is clearly B2B and we are putting a lot of effort and doubling down on it, and then the offering will be supplemented further down the road with a B2C part as well,” Georgadze told AltFi.
In lieu of having a crystal ball, Georgadze predicts that it’s fintechs like Raisin, who have a clear monetisation model, that will triumph at the end of the day.
“Investors are clearly looking for a clear path towards profitability and monetization, which puts providers under pressure to deliver and to avoid down rounds or to avoid flat rounds, or additional dilution. There is no money for free,” Georgadze told AltFi.
“Instead, we need to concentrate on what’s happening now. Focus more on the monetization of the current customer base, instead of crazy customer subscriptions for example,” he added.
At the end of the day, Raisin remains very well funded (it received a total of $142m in funding in 2019 alone) and has a strong customer base, there is no “panicky doubt on the viability of the savings sector from the consumer side,” according to Georgadze.
As well as pushing its own agenda, Raisin has also recently joined forces with several other well-known European fintechs to create the European Fintech Association to help with the creation of a single financial market across the EU.
So there you have it, despite earlier hiccups Raisin is not only coping, but is going from strength to strength amidst the wider market panic.